Friday, October 30, 2009
For first rate accommodations, the Hotel Monaco in downtown is a must. Not only is it mega pet friendly and green seal certified, this place is luxurious and fun with zero pomp. Beautiful rooms and killer decor throughout the hotel, the Monaco is a fabulous place to rest your head in the heart of the city. With fun music and complimentary wine & food tastings at happy hour along with extraordinarily friendly and helpful staff, Hotel Monaco is a healthy, eco & adventurous traveler's dream. Find out more about the hotel, reservations, their fantastic car-less vacation package, bike rentals and other reasons why they are not only green certified but also awesome, online at the Hotel Monaco website.
During my stay in Portland, I was able to visit the Bob's Red Mill facility as well as the restaurant & market. Not to mention, I got to hang out with Bob himself! Visiting the healthy & gluten free flour king at his plant was like seeing Wonka in action. His product line is impressive and his factory, jaw dropping. After a tour of the building, I got to ride over the nearby Bob's Red Mill market & deli with Bob in his '31 Model A Ford. I totally dug the big red barn filled with all things Bob & his Mill produce while enjoying a fabulous brunch with him and his staff. The deli offers food for all kinds of folks and is very accommodating to vegans & gluten free diners. If you do ever find yourself in the Portland area, make a date to visit Bob's Red Mill. Stock up on all their wonderful products and have a fresh, healthy & scrumptious breakfast or lunch too! Who knows, Bob himself might have a seat at your table!
Sweet Pea Baking Company, Herbivore Clothing, Food Fight Grocery & Scapegoat Tattoo are all a part of what has been coined as the world's first all vegan mini-mall (it's just like, it's just like - a mini - mall!). And I spent hours there! I started out with a tasty brunch at Sweet Pea Baking Company. Offering home made and ridiculously delectable sweets, treats, sandwiches, soups & healthy rice bowls, Sweet Pea rocks! I couldn't decide on just one thing so I ordered a bunch to be sure I didn't miss out on any of the goodness. I helped myself to a hug pumpkin cinnamon roll, a bbq sandwich, a happy rice bowl of veggies, brown rice & beans topped with garlic aioli & a latte. No I did not eat it all in one sitting but I did devour it shortly after ; )
After my brunch I popped into Herbivore clothing. Also an online retail store, their brick & mortar location boasts some pretty nifty goods. From clothing, bags, jewelery & books, Herbivore Clothing is 100% vegan & cruelty free. A great place to shop for hip, guilt free gifts!
Next door was the famed Food Fight Grocery. Also with an online component, their physical shop is not only full of great, hard to find products but it's also a crack up. Every corner has something that is chuckle worthy and their veggies fighting the McDonald's cast of characters is priceless. In town or not, make it a point to shop at the Food Fight Grocery.
While I'm not a tattoo clad gal myself, I was intrigued by Scapegoat Tattoo. Another 100% vegan establishment, Scapegoat's tattoo artistry is eco and animal friendly. From soy based inks to healthier ways to clean their instruments, Scapegoat, mainly staffed by vegans, is a neat departure from the run of the mill ink shop.
Since I had walked off my brunch, we decided to grab a slice o' pizza so we headed over to Bella Facia Pizzeria. Pizza pie for everybody, I was stoked to be able to order a fully vegan, fully delicious, piece of pizza. It's not every day that I can walk into a pizza joint and get 1 slice. Usually I have to special order it and get the whole darn pie but at Bella Faccia, they know to have it ready and waiting. The vegan is rad with its roasted pepper, tomato & cashew base, topped with marinated tempeh & loaded with veggies. And the crust is boss! Nothing rocks harder then killer crust, ok and vegan cheese, but crust is king. Bella Faccia also offers great salads and a variety of baked goods from Piece of Cake Bakery (lots of goodies for gluten free peeps & vegans).
For an elegant yet affordable and sustainable dinner, Aquariva on the river is just the spot. A really chic locale with a nice bar and event space on the second floor, Aquariva isn't what you'd expect. The menu is extremely affordable and on top of that, features local and organic, seasonal ingredients. They even have their own vegetable and herb garden for added freshness. I was glad to see how helpful they were in recommending and creating a wonderful vegan meal for me. My risotto was off the charts and the baby greens and beet salad was nothing to sneeze at. For a change of pace & ambiance, have a romantic and relaxing meal at Aquariva.
Let me tell you, there is way more Portland to come. I could go on for days and still not have covered all the phenomenal food & neat things to do in this Pacific paradise. See you again next week with some mo' Portland!